Friday, July 1, 2005

Iran: Carter's Legacy?

Jimmy Carter's Legacy
Iran held a presidential "election" the other day, and the "winner" was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the "hard-line" mayor of Tehran. Now the Iran Focus Web site says it has identified Ahmadinejad as a terrorist depicted in a 1979 Associated Press photo "holding the arm of a blindfolded American hostage on the premises of the United States embassy in Tehran." ...snip...

Although Al-Jazeera says some Iranian officials deny that the president-"elect" was involved in the attack, the Washington Times reports that several former hostages recognize him:

"As soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew that was the bastard," said retired Army Col. Charles Scott, 73, a former hostage who lives in Jonesboro, Ga.

"He was one of the top two or three leaders," Col. Scott said in a telephone interview. "The new president of Iran is a terrorist." . . .

Donald Sharer, a retired Navy captain who was for a time a cellmate of Col. Scott at the Evin prison in northern Tehran, remembered Mr. Ahmadinejad as "a hard-liner, a cruel individual."

"I know he was an interrogator," said Capt. Sharer, now 64 and living in Bedford, Iowa. He said he was personally questioned by Mr. Ahmadinejad on one occasion but does not recall the subject of the interrogation.

Col. Scott recalled an incident when Mr. Ahmadinejad berated a friendly Iranian guard who had allowed the two Americans to visit another U.S. hostage in a neighboring cell. Col. Scott, who understands Farsi, said Mr. Ahmadinejad told the guard, "You shouldn't let these pigs out of their cells."

Let this be a lesson to those who are calling for America to cut and run from Iraq. Jimmy Carter's stunning show of weakness in the face of the Iranians' act of war allowed the mad mullahs to solidify their hold on power, so that a quarter century later they are on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons.

It also sent a message to Islamist wackos everywhere that America didn't have the stomach for a fight--a message the subsequent three presidents reinforced by withdrawing precipitously from Lebanon and selling arms to the Iranian regime (Reagan), failing to fight the Gulf War to victory (Bush père) and bugging out of Somalia (Clinton).

Carter has been traveling the world these past few years advocating a policy of American weakness, but his legacy should be cause for pause for current officeholders who are inclined to agree. Not only did it create problems and dangers we're still dealing with a quarter century later, it wasn't even good short-term politics. After all, the voters decisively rejected Carter when he sought re-election in 1980. and in his ex-presidency Carter has accomplished something we'd never have thought possible: He's made Bill Clinton look like a statesman. --, Best of the Web Today, June 30, 2005, James Taranto. Posted by Picasa

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